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10 January 2005

We recently visited some outcrops of Horquilla Limestone in the Vail area. This entire area is a hodge-podge of gravity glide blocks ranging in age from Precambrian to Cenozoic, combined with alluvium and hill-slope colluvium that is resting on or has slid off the side of the rising Metamorphic Core Complex that makes up the Rincon Mountains. The fossils we encountered were typical Pennsylvanian Marine Invertebrates. One outcrop contained a great number of Terriculate form gastropods that look a lot like the ones I find in my vegetable garden all of the time. If I left a container of good ale on the Limestone I wonder if they'd all congregate? I'm not going to waste a good can to find out :). Since garden snails and these critters are separated by more than 290 million years, the similarities are just a coincidence. There are a great number of featureless brachiopods preserved in the Horquilla in this area as well. Most of the area is private property, or State trust land, so if you go, plan on taking only pictures.

One of our favorite spots to spend the afternoon photographing fossils has been partially destroyed. Southwest Gas dug a large trench right through the middle of it. I'm not blaming them, because we all like to stay warm and cook our dinners. Still lots to see in this location, but a lot of the better preserved fossils now only exist as images on this web site.

Ever wondered how we are able to tell weather we're on Federal, State, Municipal, or Private land? Arizona is ahead of most states with its Surface Management Responsibility map. It's quite easy to determine land status with this user friendly set of tools. Just drag a select box across the area your interested in to zoom. You can turn off features like major roadways river systems etc. It's a very useful tool, and it will keep you out of trouble with land owners and the authorities.

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Have a great day!
The Southern Arizona Fossils Team.

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